It's all about timing

Last week, PowerUp Canada executive director Tzeporah Berman made headlines for quitting the provincial New Democrats over the party's opposition to the carbon tax. But did that membership lapse last year, as she has said. Or did it lapse at least two years ago, as party campaign co-chair Gerry Scott stated in an interview with The Tyee's Garrett Zehr?

Asked about the matter on Public Eye Radio, Ms. Berman said, "I let my membership lapse after they launched the gas tax campaign last year. And, to be clear, I was never saying I've been a card-carrying NDPer my whole life. What I said is I supported the NDP in the last election. I came out very publicly in support of Claire Trevena and Gregor Robertson because they're very green candidates. And I hoped that their running would signal the NDP is going to show greater environmental leadership. And I think, under Carole James, we haven't see that leadership. We've seen the NDP move in the opposite direction - to weaken their environmental platforms. So that's why I'm not supporting them in this election."

"I think it's pretty clear that Gerry Scott is grasping at straws to put some distance between me and the NDP. But they were pretty happy to receive and trumpet my support when I've given it to them. The fact is I've knocked on doors for the NDP, I've publicly supported the NDP and I've voted for them my whole life," said Ms. Berman, who made headlines in 2004 when she quit the Greens to join the New Democrats.
"And this was a very difficult decision for me. But I think we need to put the planet above politics at this point. And we need to call for climate leadership from the right and from the left."

Does that mean Mr. Scott is just making things up? "I think Gerry is pretty clearly just trying to grasp at straws. And the fact is I have supported the NDP in the past. It was on the frontpage of the newspaper in the 2005 election. And I'm not supporting them now. And he's angry about that."

There's no truth then in what Ms. Scott is saying? "He's right. I didn't hold an NDP membership for many years. I didn't hold a membership to any party. And that's in large part because I've worked with non-profit organizations. And I try and ensure that we are non-partisan. The position I'm taking now is very personal. And I did only hold my NDP membership - I took that out when I wanted to very publicly support Claire and Gregor."

So your membership lapsed more than a year ago? "I know that when the envelope came to pay your dues and renew and it also included a letter from Carole saying axe the tax, that's when I decided not to renew," Ms. Berman responded.

1 Comment

Tzeporah Berman leaving the NDP will be good for the party and for their election chances. Most people do not support the extreme environmentalism that Ms. Berman represents. Most people also do not support her tactic of playing economic blackmail by threatening consumer boycotts (even though the threats were empty) with any number of companies to try and force her views upon them.

I was active in the NDP and its Standing Committee on the Environment for about 10 years during the 1990s. Never once did Ms. Berman show up for any of its meetings, which are open to all party members. That's probably because she was too busy trying to damage the NDP through such cheap stunts as the Clayoquot Sound fiasco, which she organized and led. She was also probably too busy heading off to Europe to slam British Columbia forest practices even after the NDP was bringing in some of the best forest practices in the world through the Forest Practices Code.

Ms. Berman's support for the NDP was shallow at best. She gave very little visible support to the party. For her to say that Gerry Scott's criticism of her now is “grasping at straws” is farcical. Her relationship to the NDP was strictly a marriage of convenience aimed at her trying to get as much out of the NDP as possible without giving much back. Who needs her? Certainly not the NDP.

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